News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th September 2011

Commencing

Postmodernism: Style And Subversion 1970 - 1990 surveys art, design and architecture of the 1970s and 1980s, examining one of the most contentious phenomena in recent art and design history. The exhibition shows how Postmodernism evolved from a provocative architectural movement in the early 1970s, and rapidly went on to influence all areas of popular culture, including art, film, music, graphics and fashion. It explores the radical ideas that challenged the orthodoxies of Modernism, overthrowing purity and simplicity, in favour of exuberant colour, bold patterns, artificial looking surfaces, historical quotation, parody and wit, and above all, released a newfound freedom in design. The exhibition brings together over 250 objects across all genres of art and design, revisiting a time when style was not just a 'look' but became an attitude. Among the highlights are designs of the Italian collectives Studio Alchymia and Memphis; graphics by Peter Saville and Neville Brody; architectural models and renderings, including the original presentation drawing for Philip Johnson's AT&T building; paintings by Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol; Jeff Koons' stainless steel bust 'Louis XIV'; a recreation of Jenny Holzer's illuminated billboard 'Protect Me From What I Want'; performance costumes, including David Byrne's big suit from the documentary 'Stop Making Sense'; excerpts from films such as Derek Jarman's 'The Last of England'; fashion photography by Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton; and music videos featuring Laurie Anderson, Grace Jones and New Order. Many Modernists considered style to be a mere sideshow to their utopian visions, but for the Postmodernists, style was everything. Victoria & Albert Museum until 15th January.

Colour, Rhythm And Form: J D Fergusson And France commemorates the 50th anniversary of the death of a key member of the internationally renowned Scottish Colourists. The exhibition highlights J D Fergusson's lifelong interest in France, which inspired him to produce some of his most substantial work. It also examines the role he played in the other Scottish Colourists' connections with France. The exhibition consists of around 50 paintings, watercolours, drawings and sculptures by Fergusson and fellow Colourists, S J Peploe, G L Hunter and F C B Cadell, alongside a range of archive material. It is organised into four main chronological sections, covering Fergusson's time in Paris, in the South of France, the breakthrough Colourist exhibitions in Paris, and finally his return to Glasgow. Highlights include 'La Dessee de la Riviere', 'Les Eus', 'Anne Estelle Rice, Closerie des Lilas', 'In the Woods, Cap d'Antibes', 'Rhythm', 'Le Manteau Chinois' and 'Self Portrait' by J D Fergusson; 'La Foret' by S J Peploe; and 'Lac Lomond' by G L Hunter. Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, until 8th January.

Separation And Silence: Wandsworth Prison marks the 160th anniversary of Britain's largest penal institution with an examination of how the treatment of its inmates has developed in that period. From an execution box to a letter from Oscar Wilde's wife Constance, desperate to see her husband, the display explores the past of Wandsworth Prison, its inmates, and the changes that have taken place in the prison system, from the punitive measures employed to the conditions of an inmate's cell. The exhibition focuses on the harsh corrective methods used in the 19th century, the 'separate system' adopted in the 1840s and the 'silent system' adopted in the 1830s. The former drove inmates mad through solitary confinement, while the latter broke the will of prisoners through needless hard labour. Highlights include an execution box (which contained the necessary equipment to perform an execution: two ropes, a white hood, and pinioning straps) dating from the 1920s; Inside Eye, a photography project that took place in the prison in the early 1990s; a handmade quilt produced by recent prisoners; photos taken by the prisoners that show their perspective of life on the inside; paintings created by inmates as part of their rehabilitation; and a noose used for capital punishment during the 1920s, along with original execution documents. Wandsworth Museum, 38 West Hill, London SW18, until 31st December.

Continuing

Degas And The Ballet: Picturing Movement explores the French Impressionist's preoccupation with movement as an artist of the dance. The exhibition traces the development of Edgar Degas's ballet imagery throughout his career, from the documentary mode of the early 1870s to the sensuous expressiveness of his final years. It is the first to present Degas's progressive engagement with the figure in movement in the context of parallel advances in photography and early film. Degas was keenly aware of these technological developments and often directly involved with them. The exhibition comprises around 85 paintings, sculptures, pastels, drawings, prints and photographs by Degas, as well as photographs by his contemporaries and examples of early film. Highlights include the sculpture 'Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen', together with a group of preparatory drawings that together show the artist tracking around his subject like a camera, 'Dancer Posing for a Photograph', 'Dancer on Pointe', 'The Dance Lesson' and 'Dancers in a Rehearsal Room with a Double Bass'. The show explores the links between Degas's highly original way of viewing and recording the dance and the inventive experiments being made at the same time in photography by Jules-Etienne Marey and Eadweard Muybridge, and in film-making by pioneers such as the Lumiere brothers. By presenting Degas in this context, the exhibition demonstrates that he was far more than merely the creator of beautiful images of the ballet, but instead, a modern, radical artist who thought profoundly about visual problems and was fully attuned to the technological developments of his time. Royal Academy of Arts until 11th December.

Splendour And Power Imperial Treasures From Vienna offers a rare glimpse into the opulent world of the Hapsburg emperors. The exhibition comprises a selection of beautifully crafted cameos, jewellery, vessels and other objects made from gems, precious metals and hardstones, from the Kunstkammer collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. These objects, almost all of which are unique creations, were designed to demonstrate the incredible wealth, power and glory of the Hapsburg dynasty, and initially only visitors of noble birth, such as princes of neighbouring countries or diplomatic delegations, were granted access. The focus of the exhibition is on artworks from the late Renaissance and Mannerist periods, the heyday of treasuries and 'cabinets of curiosities', as well as from the Baroque. These include exquisite jewellery, from necklaces, pendants and lockets to rings and enseignes, complemented by pre-eminent examples of medieval and Renaissance jewellery; intricate portrait cameos, many bearing the likenesses of the Hapsburg sovereigns, crafted in the style of ancient Roman imperial portraits; ornate goldwork, vessels and coffers, including a bowl featuring embedded Roman coins, and a serpentine tankard; stonework, carving and sculpture, with precious objects crafted from agate, jasper, rock-crystal and lapis lazuli, including a cup made from rhinoceros horn and a Chinese jade bowl; a 15th century enamel model of the Annunication; and 'Venus and Cupid Sleeping on a Shell', created around 1600 from precious agate and set in a silver mount. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until 8th January.

The Poster King: Edward McKnight Kauffer features the work of the artist who produced some of the most iconic and influential commercial imagery of the early 20th century. Edward McKnight Kauffer was a remarkably versatile artist who drew inspiration from a wide variety of styles, ranging from Japanese art to Fauvism, Vorticism and Constructivism, and encompassed painting, applied art, interior design and scenography. However, it was his celebrated posters, created for clients such as London Underground and Shell during the inter-war years, for which he remains most famous. Kauffer's pioneering work in the field of graphic design ranks alongside the achievements of fellow avant-garde figures such as T S Eliot, Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis, all of whom, like Kauffer, had roots in the United States, yet established their careers in London. In 1915 Kauffer received a commission to design publicity posters for the Underground. The originality and vibrancy of these images led Kauffer to receive commissions from a variety of companies and publishing houses over the following two decades, including Fortnum & Mason, Lund Humphries and Chrysler Motors. With a finger on the pulse of the latest artistic trends, Kauffer's special genius lay in his ability to adapt the language of the avant-garde to the needs of advertising, creating works that were not simply visually striking, but also rich in artistic merit. In addition to the renowned graphic work, the exhibition includes a nucleus of lesser- known paintings and prints, as well as a selection of photographs, working drawings and original designs. Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39A Canonbury Square, London N1, until 18th December.

Blackpool Illuminations have extended the holiday season and entertained visitors to the seaside town since 1879, when 8 plain electric arc lamps bathed the Promenade in what was described as 'artificial sunshine'. While the basic idea remains the same, the style and scale of Blackpool's end of season electrical extravaganza have little in common with that first experiment in lighting. Traditional lamps are still used, but now alongside the newest technology such as lasers, fibre-optics, low-voltage neon and even real fire and water. The show now costs £2.4m to stage, and stretches for 6 miles of spectacular colour, light and movement. New features this year include Bling, sparkling jewellery made up of 20,000 lamps and in excess of a million LEDs, all in cool, bright white; Famous Heads, featuring likenesses of Alan Carr, Tony Blackburn, Lee Evans, Joanna Lumley, Ken Dodd, Matt Lucas and Jo Brand; and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's Theatre D'Amour, a mechanical theatre featuring dancing ballerinas, video projection, footlights, a rotating moon, two pairs of swans, a series of backdrops and nine dancing fountains, plus old favourites Pirates, Noddy and Hickory Dickory Dock renewed and improved. Visitors can become part of the display, as they travel along the Promenade aboard a tram dressed up by lights as a wild west train, ocean liner or space rocket, from dusk to 11.30pm most nights. Blackpool Promenade, until 6th November.

Power Of Making is a cabinet of curiosities, showing works by both amateurs and leading makers from around the world, to present a snapshot of making in our time. The exhibition celebrates the importance of traditional and time-honoured ways of making, but also highlights the extraordinary innovation taking place around the world. It aims to show how the act of making in its various forms, from human expression to practical problem solving, unites us globally. The display comprises an eclectic selection of over 100 exquisitely crafted objects, ranging from a life-size crochet bear to a ceramic eye patch, a fine metal flute to dry stone walling. It showcases works made using a diverse range of skills, and explores how materials can be used in imaginative and spectacular ways, whether for medical advances, entertainment, social networking or artistic endeavour. Works on show include moulded shoes by Marloes ten Bhomer, new Saville Row tailoring by Social Suicide, furniture such as a spun metal rotating chair by Thomas Heatherwick, a prosthetic suit for Stephen Hawking, individual handcrafted puppets from the 2009 film Fantastic Mr Fox, a six-necked guitar, bio-implant embroidering to aid surgical implants, a lion-shaped Ghanaian coffin, extreme cake decorations and new technologies such as 3D printing. In addition to the objects themselves, there is documentary footage filmed at individual maker's studios and factories, providing an insight into how the knowledge of making is preserved. These include Watson Bros. Gunmakers, CPP car makers in Coventry, John Lobb shoemakers and Moorfield Hospital's prosthetic eye maker. There is also a dedicated 'Tinker Space' for demonstrations and a wide programme of activities for visitors. Victoria & Albert Museum until 2nd January.

Memory Remains: 9/11 Artifacts At Hangar 17 - Francesc Torres marks the 10th anniversary of the world's worst terrorist attack. Following the devastation of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11th 2001, the recovery effort began, and the 16 acre site underwent the careful and lengthy process of being cleared. A small group of architects and curators began to fill the empty shell of the 80,000 sq ft Hangar 17 at John F Kennedy International Airport with debris and material cleared from the site, transforming it into a storehouse of memories. Spanish-American artist Francesc Torres, commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, was granted access to explore inside the hangar, and over a period of 5 weeks, produced an extensive series of photographs reflecting on the emotional power of what remained after 9/11. This exhibition features over 150 projected images, which explore inside the hangar and reflect on the emotional power of what remained, from personal belongings to steel girders distorted by the force of the attacks. In photographs of exceptional sensitivity and insight, Torres has captured both the monumental scale of loss in the wake of the terror attacks, and the excruciating intimacy of personal effects that remain as testaments to those unwittingly caught in the maelstrom of destruction. Alongside the photographs is a section of raw rusted steel over 2m in length from the ruins of the World Trade Center, thought to be the box section of one of the windows. Imperial War Museum, London, until 26th February.

Concluding

Dutch Landscapes brings together remarkable works from the 'golden age' of Dutch painting in the second half of the 17th century, largely collected by King George IV. The exhibition includes paintings by Jacob van Ruisdael, Aelbert Cuyp and Meyndert Hobbema. The fine detail and meticulous finish of Dutch landscapes appealed to British taste. The ability of Netherlandish artists to depict mood and emotion through the landscape of their homeland or the Italian countryside influenced the great British painters John Constable and JMW Turner. However, a major pleasure of the exhibition is the people in the landscapes. There are scenes of merrymaking, replete with people boozing, smoking, swaggering and dancing, country fairs abuzz with activity, busy vistas of agricultural labour, hunting parties and well-to-do landowners and burghers, plus a ragged rabble of floozies and farmhands, blacksmiths and street-vendors, barefooted scamps and beggars with peg legs. Highlights include Isaac van Ostade's 'Travellers Outside an Inn', Salomon van Ruysdael's 'River Landscape with Sailing Boats', Jacob van Ruisdael's 'Evening Landscape: a Windmill by a Stream', Meyndert Hobbema's 'A Watermill Beside a Woody Lane' and Aelbert Cuyp's 'The Passage Boat'. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 9th October.

Treasures Of Heaven: Saints, Relic And Devotion In Medieval Europe explores the spiritual and artistic significance of Christian relics and reliquaries in medieval Europe. Featuring some of the finest sacred treasures of the medieval age, the exhibition provides an opportunity to view over 150 objects from more than 40 institutions, many of which have not been seen in the Britain before, brought together for the first time. Sacred items related to Christ or the saints were first used during the early medieval period as a focus for prayer and veneration by Christians throughout Europe. Relics were usually human body parts, or material items sanctified through their contact with holy persons or places. This exhibition features a very broad range of the kinds of relics which were venerated, including 3 thorns thought to be from the Crown of Thorns, the breast milk of the Virgin Mary, and the Mandylion of Edessa, one of the earliest known likenesses of Jesus. The objects on display range from small portable reliquaries in the form of jewellery, such as a pendant reliquary housing a single holy thorn, to large containers opulently adorned with gems, silver and gold. The beauty of a reliquary was intended to reflect the spiritual value of what it contained, and so reliquaries were made of the highest quality, often crafted in precious metals by extremely skilled goldsmiths. Exceptional examples include the 12th century bust reliquary of St Baudime from St Nectaire in the Auvergne, which once contained a vial of the saint's blood; the bejewelled Holy Thorn reliquary, set amid an enamelled representation of the Last Judgement; and the splendid gold arm reliquary of St George, which has been housed in the Treasury of St Mark's in Venice since the Sack of Constantinople. A variety of objects such as manuscripts, prints and pilgrim badges are exhibited alongside the relics and reliquaries themselves, adding depth and context to the exhibition's examination of this critical aspect of European history. British Museum until 9th October.

Radical Bloomsbury: The Art Of Duncan Grant And Vanessa Bell, 1905 - 1925 looks at a significant contribution to the development of 20th century British painting, exploring the relationship between the Bloomsbury artists and avant-garde art. The unconventional household established by the painters Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant was often depicted in their paintings, and their house itself is a distillation of what has come to be known as the 'Bloomsbury style'. The exhibition demonstrates how these Bloomsbury painters were among the earliest British artists to look at new developments in European art, such as French Post-Impressionist practices, and the importance of their role in modernising British art. Grant was one of very few British artists who knew Picasso and Matisse in their early days, and Bell was an international pioneer of abstract painting. Around 80 paintings and drawings are on show, together with painted room panels and screens and some textiles, which embody the new social, emotional and sexual attitudes of what became known as the Bloomsbury Group. The exhibition also provides the cultural and social context within which Grant and Bell worked. For example, Grant spent almost the first 10 years of his life in India and Burma, and this backdrop of a still Imperial world is explored, through photographs and watercolours of Indian scenes by other European artists. Brighton Museum & Art Gallery until 9th October.